October 29, 2007

20071029-05 Internet Librarian PL Track: Integrating Libraries & Online Communities Online

Bookspace.org – Glenn Peterson, Marilyn Turner (Hennepin County Library)

Marilyn

book site went live on valentine’s day
contributions from staff and readers have been key
hennepin county is a county of readers
– on average, every suburban HC resident checked out 17 books, DVDs, and CDs in 2006
– twice the national average

wanted to maximize this when redesigning their site
– wanted to bring together relevant resources for a particular genre or subject
– to allow librarians to easily contribute content without need any programming knowledge

when they came up with the name “bookspace,” it was conceived as a true space where people could read, share, and learn
domain name was owned by a young adult librarian in missouri who was never able to use it so she gave it to them to use

latest blog post title appears on the home page
email newsletter that goes out every other month
featured readers list
find a good book

who is working on the site?
– coordinator
– workgroup of 5 librarians
– contributors (30 librarians)
– 2 librarians on each genre page team

easy to use tools for the librarians, all form-based on the web
they help each other to show new blog authors how easy it is
these are not volunteer activities, which is important
– this is part of your job and part of your performance expectation
– it’s become an expectation over the last few years that their librarians will add content to the web

Glenn

social features
– user comments on books and other titles
– right now there are 234 comments on the final Harry Potter book; comments started on this title while it was still on order
– blogs, where users can also comment
– booklists
– list top contributors of comments
– “It’s Alive”
– user profiles
– more than just screen names
– bring together user’s comments and booklists on their profile page
– also show what they have checked out as a wall of books (“what they’re reading”)

looking ahead
– new ways to connect users
– users who are reading x are also reading y
– facebook “wall”
– show user’s “friends”

challenges
– control issues

geek stuff
– database-driven
– RSS everywhere
– ColdFusion (or ASP, PHP, etc.)

takeaways
– draw on library staff
– empower your users (they want to add content, especially your younger users)
– create opportunities for serendipity
– let users interact

slides at http://hclib.org/extranet/

John: The Social Catalog

the transformative library
based on “The Experience Economy” book –
services, goods = 1.0
transformation puts services, goods, and experience (participation) together into a whole = 2.0
the media ecology is changing rapidly
the way we conduct business means we need to change the way we do things

create an experience in the library itself to offer a transformative experience for the user
the social catalog is one way to do this
a vital interim step to wherever we end up going

3 social catalog environments

1. pseudo-social
– authority presented as collaborative (ie Encore); subject headings as tag cloud
– there’s no feedback loop, though, no real collaborative experience, and not really social
2. syndicated social
– 3rd party data (ie LibraryThing for Libraries)
– the results you get are generally well-formed and almost always outstrip the usefulness of subject headings
– but get a homogeneous blend of information from a particular record
3. individually social
– user-direct and self-contained (ie Hennepin, SOPAC)
– run into other limitations, such as critical mass of content

showed Michigan State University’s implementation of Encore
– tag cloud, AJAX
– not really a social system, though, even though interface elements are indicative of social sites

showed Danbury Library’s implementation of LibraryThing for Libraries
– tags, but still no real social elements

showed Ann Arbor’s SOPAC
– users taking advantage of the social elements are probably teens, probably a handful of them (so have to be careful your data analysis isn’t skewed)

you need to ask yourself…
– do we want non-authoritative (user-generated) metadata associated with a record display?
– only your institution can decide
– authoritative and non-authoritative information can co-exist
– if you include folksonomy, do you:
– want it to originate from syndicated data?
– reflect your community?
– if you don’t have the content, how do you provide the incentive to use the system? and if you don’t have incentive to use the system, how do you have the content?
– what kind of development is involved?

the network effect

question: how do you prime the pump for comments?
answer: glenn – thinks we’ll see a phased approach in popularity; needs to build, not there from day one; their statistics show that people are more interested in reading than contributing, but thinks that will change over time; Marilyn: Glenn has put the opportunity to comment in places she hadn’t thought of (where normally it would be an email); have done a lot of PR with prizes when they introduce these types of things; can put your name in to win after you comment


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